A Practical Guide on How to Learn Photography and Use a Camera

how to learn photography

Have any of you wondered what the best and easiest way to make a person smile quickly and effortlessly? The answer is simple. The road to it is none other than photography. It may keep you wondering how? As soon as you say the phrase smile, you see the person’s lips widening, pupils dilating, and for that very matter all 32 teeth of the person shown as well.

As a kid to the present, I have been to several weddings, events, places of interest. The only thought that would strike me after seeing so many people in front of the camera smiling and laughing is, how to learn photography, I must learn photography. My aim since then, at the age of ten to now, was crystal clear, to bring smiles and laughter on the faces of anybody around me, be it behind the camera or when I am around them.

I would describe it as a fantastic feeling to see somebody with a smile around you. It will light up your world. I have been into photography for almost six years now, and it has worked wonders in my life. Being grateful is an understatement after all that I have been through on this fantastic journey.

My aim is simple. Be happy and try bringing a smile on the face of a sibling, parent, friend, teacher, and see how happy it makes you from the inside.

In this article, I will be sharing insights on how to learn photography and how to understand your camera.

What is Photography?

Photography is a form of art that lets you capture and freeze moments that will last you a lifetime.

In simple terms, it is an art that captures some beautiful moments throughout life in the form of digital media or print. The final product, also known as photographs, acts as a memoir and a sense of motivation and confidence to the person throughout their life.

Did you know? There are at least 50 different fields in photography such as Fashion Photography, Portrait Photography, Landscape Photography, Action Photography, Drone Photography, these being just a few of them of the many available choices to choose from to start as a hobby photographer. But what connects them all is the standard settings in your camera.

What is a Camera?

how to learn dslr photography
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

A camera is an optical instrument that records images. In other words, a camera is a sealed box with a small hole that lets in light to capture an image on a light-sensitive surface.

They have various mechanisms that function in different ways to give you the perfect picture you have always wanted.

Check out my post on “Evolution of Cameras” to understand how the cameras entered our world!

Photography Fundamentals: Understanding Your Camera

Any new subject that we take up for the very first time would sound gibberish to us. It is the same with photography as well. Photography without the basics of the camera is the same as well. The only way to understand and practice photography is by understanding the very basics of the camera, and the photography fundamentals.

Camera Structure and Elements

photography fundamentals

Image 1:

  1. Power Switch: Power on and power off of the camera.
  2. Mode Dial: Setting up of the mode to be used to be when using the camera. It is circumstantial based on the requirement. For example, when we use the camera to shoot action or sports photos, we will need the camera to capture every movement and detail involved, and the sports mode or scene mode would be the right option to support this action.
  3. Main Control Dial: It controls the aperture and exposure in the camera.
  4.  Shutter Button: The shutter button focusses on the subject with a light click on it and clicks the image when pressed a little harder.
  5. Flash: A flash comes in handy when we need help with lighting to give a clearer and vibrant image.

Image 2:

  1. ViewFinder: It helps you find the subject and focus on it.
  2. LCD Display: The LCD Display gives us an understanding of our camera functions and setting at that given moment.
  3. Cross Keys: The cross keys are function keys are used for many operations, and it varies from camera to camera.
  4. Memory Card Slot: It is an enclosure for the memory card
  5. Play Button: Play button is used to play a video.

Image 3:

  1. Flash Button: It is used to engage the flash.
  2. Lens Release Button: The cameras have a detachable lens. By using this button, we can change the lens based on the requirement.
  3. Lens: One of the essential components in a camera. It helps with the capturing of the image.

How to Learn Photography and Use a Camera: The Basics

Now that we have a basic understanding of our camera let us learn some of the terms and what they mean and how to use it to capture an image.

basics of photography
Source: expertphotography.com

Aperture:

The most common and often heard phrase in Photography. It is an option in the camera that lets you determine the brightness of the picture. The alphabet f represents it in the camera. A practical example to explain this scenario would be our windows at home. The bigger the windows in size, the more the light that would enter inside and smaller the window lesser would be the light coming inside. f/1.8 would be a wide opening, and f/22 would be a small opening. It is one of the factors that determine your that determine the brightness or darkness of your images.

Shutter Speed:

Shutter speed varies based on the camera setting. It determines how long the shutter was open until the image got clicked. Longer, the shutter is open more the exposure and vice versa.

ISO:

The ISO indicates how sensitive the camera is to light. For example, if we have an ISO of 100, it means the camera is not sensitive to light. If the ISO is 3200, it means the camera is extremely sensitive to light, and it is suitable for low light Photography.

Exposure:

The exposure determines how light or dark your image is. It is highly dependent on Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO.

Burst Mode:

Burst mode is an option to click multiple pictures at once, and it comes in handy when there is rapid movement, or multiple images of the same subject are required instead of one at that very second.

Depth of Field:

The depth of field determines how much of an image is in focus. We can differentiate it by considering two pictures. A portrait image has focussed on the subject but with blur background, whereas a landscape image has a wider depth of field as it is capturing a bigger subject.

Focus:

A subject in an image with clarity and sharpness is said to have focus, whereas the blurred background is said to be out of focus. It varies based on the subject which has been focused upon.


Noise:

Noise, also known as grain, is the distortion found when an image is shot. It usually occurs when the camera is exposed to a high ISO.

File Format:

File formatting is essential in Photography. It has various file formatting settings based on the camera make. It helps you shoot in RAW or JPEG or both simultaneously. RAW images play a significant role in the post-processing of images as compared to the JPEG images.

Manual Mode:

The most important mode in your camera. You can set up the Shutter speed, ISO, and Aperture instead of letting the camera do it automatically for you. You can decide on the outcome of the image based on the settings you have made.

Once all of the above has been understood, clicking the image is the easiest. Follow the steps below.

how to use a camera
Photo by Michael Henry on Unsplash
  1. Power up the Camera.
  2. See through the viewfinder and focus on the subject.
  3. Gently press the shutter button to auto focus the subject.
  4. Give a prolonged press on the shutter button, and voila, your image has been captured.
  5. You can send forward your image for processing and frame it.

One of the most common question that comes up is How do you learn photography on your own?

The most common answer would be, treat your camera manual as your Bible. Apart from that there are really good videos available on youtube, instagram etcetera.

Conclusion

Photography has always been a getaway for me. It’s all of those little things in life that has brought the most out of me.

This is my Instagram Feed for all those of you wondering where i put up my shots


For those of you who have thoughts of taking up Photography, think no more.
For each reason you find not to take it up, I will give you five reasons to take it up.

Let me know how you stumbled across photography and what is your favorite memory learning photography.

1 thought on “A Practical Guide on How to Learn Photography and Use a Camera”

  1. The way you started off giving an inside story of how you got into photography was truly captivating. It genuinely held my interest and made me want to know more as to what’s so special about a camera. Thank you for this wonderful article. During this dreadful time, it’s articles like yours that encourage a person to get up and do something worthwhile as simple as holding up a camera!!

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